The Parsi culture has always fascinated me, and I’m a glutton by choice. So when I heard about this food walk organized by Wandering Foodie, it was like the food Gods were finally listening to moi. I checked out the event that is conducted by Bawi Bride (pretty clever, ha?) and signed up without wasting any time. After the customary shout out on Twitter, I started counting down days to the Parsi Snack Trail.
Photo Credit: Wandering Foodie
The day finally arrived and we met near Bhatia Hospital in Grant Road. We were a group of 10 people. Bawi Bride a.k.a Perzen Patel started the walk along with Rahul Patil from Wandering Foodie. After a quick round of introduction and Perzen’s story about Bawi Bride, we proceeded towards our first stop – the Parsi Agyari on Grant Road. Here, Perzen shared a wonderful account of the origins of the Parsi community. The history lesson was kept brief but was very insightful. She explained the meaning of the Zoroastrian winged symbol Faravahar; something that has now come to represent the community. From there we proceeded to our first snack stop – P.A.C. or Parsi Amelioration Committee – a tiny store with some seriously flavorsome dishes you can pick. We settled on a yummy chicken patty (the best I’ve had so far, and I’ve had plenty, trust me!) and a bhakra. Bhakra is almost like a gritty version of a mawa cake; less sweet with perfect semolina grittiness. It is perfect with a cuppa.
From there we proceeded to Belgaum Ghee Depot. No, we weren’t being treated to buckets of ghee as the name suggests. The dairy deals in some lip-smacking kebabs. The mutton one we tasted was almost like a hot vada stuffed with a thick mutton gravy. While devouring those wicked kebabs, we spoke about a lot of things. She told us why Parsis have surnames that end in ‘-valas’. After a few funny anecdotes, we proceeded to our next destination. The most revered masala shop that almost all Parsis (at home and abroad) have been loyal to through generations – Mangal Masala. With an assortment of pickles (Bawi swears by the gajar ka achar), spices and masala powders the store is your one-stop-shop if you want any Parsi ingredient. A jolly old Parsi uncle sits at the counter and makes sure you strike up a conversation.
Photo Credit: Wandering Foodie
The next pit stop wasn’t a Parsi one, but was an absolute treasure to discover. The K.G. Watermelon Stop serves the best watermelon juice you will ever have. They even sell their watermelon concentrate that makes the juice extra, extra special; definitely worth the long walk. After being super refreshed, we proceeded towards the last stop – Merwans Irani Bakery. A quaint little bakery with marble top tables and wooden chairs, and all the Irani charm. We ended the walk there with a classic treat – a cup of tea with brun maska.
After the walk I had a chat with Rahul and Bawi Bride and this was what they had to say about their walk.
Rahul Patil, Wandering Foodie says:
"It is great to meet new people and interact with them. Most of the times, the group bonds really well and everybody shares great stories. They have food and travel stories of their own, and I end up learning something new about food every time. It feels good to see them enjoying the food, and the look of delight when they munch on the chicken patties or sip on the watermelon cooler is priceless. The interest that the participants take in the food is really encouraging, which keeps us motivated to explore more cuisines."
Perzen Patel, Bawi Bride says:
"My goal with Bawi Bride has always been to spread the love for Parsi food with everyone I meet and these walks with Wandering Foodie helps me do just that. I love that we go from having a group that has only ever had Dhansak or Mawa Cake to one that tries out some legendary chicken patties, purchase spices they only heard about an hour ago and dig into watermelon juice with that ‘oh-my-god-this-is-amazing’ look on their face. With each walk I come out knowing a little bit more about the cuisine myself as people share their experiences with Parsi food. I love doing these walks and showing off a bit of my heritage."
The walk was every bit colorful and entertaining. The next one is sometime mid-June. So watch out for more details in the events page!